Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Inspiring story

Check "Be Who You Are" by Rochelle Hamilton. Her take-home message is especially worth passing along:

I go to school to learn, but the experience of standing up for myself and for my rights taught me some important lessons.

Lesson Number One: Students can take a stand against adults who discriminate. And they can win. Even when those adults are teachers.

Lesson Number Two: I have the right to be myself. You have the right to be yourself. We all have the right.

So this is my message to everybody else being discriminated against: keep fighting, be who you are ‘till the day you die, always stand up for yourself.
Where I reside, the last school board meeting I attended dealt in part with the upcoming school year's student handbook. Apparently there was talk about adding language that would have forbidden students from bringing same-sex dates to events such as junior and senior proms. Fortunately, one of the board members had done some double-checking with some legal eagles who impressed upon him that the district would be opening itself up to potential law suits for discrimination, and that even in my somewhat reactionary state the district would likely lose any such suits. We may be rural, but we also do have our share of GLBT high school and college students in the area, and this isn't quite like the bad old days where schools could get away with being blatantly discriminatory.

I concur with Rochelle that it is crucial to keep fighting for your rights, because those who are motivated to quash constitutional rights never stop looking for ways to do so. We learned last year first-hand that battles that should have been over a generation ago are still periodically reignited, and often over the dumbest of things (in our school district it was, of all things, hair length). Elsewhere it is over religion, and so on. In a sense, the culture wars from the baby boom era are over, but there are some folks out there who, like some Japanese soldier from WWII stranded on a deserted island, never got the message; such folks are still quite capable of inflicting damage.

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